Why Many Ghanaian Creatives Will Always Struggle To Make Bank (Part 2)

This is the follow up to Part 1 of “Why Many Ghanaian Creatives Will Always Struggle To Make Bank”


Number 4: They Don’t Engage in Continuous Personal Development and Rest

Photo credit: Opportunity Desk

I like this quote by Ayodeji Awosika: “Self-improvement is the process of doing more than paying lip service to what you know.”

Francis Ford Coppola, American film director, producer, screenwriter, and film composer once said, “I don’t think there’s any artist of any value who doesn’t doubt what they’re doing.”

If you want to create an enduring work, you must progressively nuance your thinking and refine your perspectives. If you’re not earning what you’d like to earn, maybe you need to work on adding more value to yourself.

A lot of people start out hungry and ready to change the world. But after achieving some success, they plateau. They stop developing themselves. Their status and definitions from society eventually become their prison.

I see this with some of the people I looked up to earlier in my career  – they have settled. They’re reacting instead of attacking their work like they used to. They don’t go deeper in solving problems anymore. They’re living in past glories and avoiding pain.

If you’re not developing yourself, you cannot grow; if you’re not growing, you cannot be happy and if you’re not happy, what’s the point of being alive?

There’s no end to education. There’s no end to growing and reinventing yourself.

Be honest to yourself: In the last 30 days, what did you read that added value to you? How did you grow? What skills did you improve on? How are you raising your standards?

As this author wrote, if you’re not spending 5 hours per week learning, you’re being irresponsible. If you want to be at the top of your industry, you must invest at least 10% of your earnings in personal education.

If you’re not developing yourself, you cannot grow; if you’re not growing, you cannot be happy and if you’re not happy, what’s the point of being alive?

Having a proper rest is as important as investing in yourself. One of the biggest dilemmas creatives face is restlessness. Some of us are so numbed out by the endless deadlines and commitments that we depend on alcohol and energy boosters to stay awake. Unfortunately, it’s been proven by research that a lack of sleep causes your brain to age quicker. It equally affects your productivity and leads to ailments.

Bill Gates once said that “although he can give a speech without much sleep he is unable to think creatively if he isn’t well rested.”  Arianna Huffington recently counseled Elon Musk to “get some sleep.”

Make time for sleep so that when you’re at work, you’re fully recharged. When you’re rested, you move with speed; your delivery becomes sharp. I know this is easier said than done but as a creative, you are your biggest project. You are your best asset. If you break down, the world will move on without you.

Number 5: They Lack Entrepreneurial Mindset

Entrepreneurship is not about CEO/Owner/Founder status, it’s a mindset.

Understanding how to manage your skills as a business will distinguish you from other equally talented professionals in your industry. See yourself as the CEO of YOU empire.

if you don’t understand people, you don’t understand business.”

Turning your passion into profit requires entrepreneurial thinking. You’d need to create structures that help you stay organized and focused on project roadmaps for your clients.

Many creatives in Ghana do not have an entrepreneurial mindset. And it’s easy to see that because of how they approach their work. They have poor work ethics and do not know how to give exceptional value. They don’t know how to connect and communicate with people.

Entrepreneurs create connections, they solve problems and they exploit opportunities. They take risks, push boundaries, and give back. They know how to create a halo effect, leverage and relational equity for their brands.

As Simon Sinek said, “if you don’t understand people, you don’t understand business.”

If you’re not a people person, there are lots of soft skills courses online that can help you improve on this quality.

Real entrepreneurs are masters at serving people – they go above and beyond in delivering their services. They focus on results and not activities or the time it takes to create great work. They understand the power of gratitude and humility. They’re not chasing status and even when they have several statuses, as they often do, they’re not excessively attached to them.

In the words of Dan Sullivan, founder of Strategic Coach, entrepreneurs have crossed “the risk line” from the “Time-and-Effort Economy” to the “Results Economy.” For them, there’s no guaranteed income, no one writing them a paycheck every two weeks. They live by their ability to generate opportunity by creating value for their clientage.

Number 6: They Lack Financial Discipline

Gary Vee said it best: “How you make your money is more important than how much you make. “

Many creatives in Ghana do not have financial intelligence. A lot of times, it’s not how much we make but what we do with our money that counts. You have to have goals for your money – if you have no goal for your money, it’ll be used by those who do.

Many people, as soon as they start making more money, indulge in self-destructive habits of buying things they don’t need to keep appearances with people that don’t matter. They live by retweets and likes on Social Media.

Garbage.

In the words of Dr. Dre, get your money right!

If you don’t understand money, you will forever be broke. If you don’t understand how to make your money work for you, you will never be rich.

In his book, The Archetypal Big Debt Cycle, Ray Dalio wrote the following beautiful lines: Money has two purposes, it serves two masters: 1) those who want to obtain it for “life’s necessities,” usually by working for it, and 2) those who have stored wealth tied to its value. The first group has been called workers, the proletariat, have-nots (proletariat-workers), earning money by selling their time. The second group has been called capitalists, investors, the haves (capitalist-investors), earning their money by lending other the use of their money.

Are you living day-to-day or are you thinking long-term?

Are you creating systems to help you make large sums of money or are you focused on kpa-kpa-kpa (a hit-and-run attitude)? Kpa-kpa-kpa is not the problem, the problem is when you can’t break away from that cycle.

Aspiring to have money – lots of it – is not greed; it’s a good thing because money gives you options. But if you don’t develop a strong financial discipline, your aspirations will not come to fruition.

Set a goal about how much money you wish to earn in the next few months, create a savings plan, learn how to double your money within the shortest period, use tools like Wave to manage your personal finance, and pay attention to your spending. With the high cost of living in our society today, financial pressures will spill over into other areas of your life if you’re not careful.

The good news is: We’ve entered a skills economy and with these tips, any creative could be rich! There’s no point starving yourself when you have marketable skills. With these simple shifts in your approach to work and life as a creative, you will start making a living doing what you love to do. And that, my friend, is freedom!


About The Author

Tom-Chris Emewulu is the Founder and President of SFAN (Stars From All Nations), a high impact social enterprise that bridges the gap between education and work. He is an education enthusiast, entrepreneurship and career coach, a consultant at Mastercard Foundation, Seedstars Ambassador for Ghana and an aspiring venture capitalist.

You can follow Tom-Chris on Twitter and LinkedIn